Saturday, December 15, 2007


"The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless" -- Steven Weinberg

The key to our spiritual needs is the answer to the question "why are we here?" No other question, in history has ever been answered so often with so many different variations. Yet, for many people they still search for an answer they can accept.

It is, of course, our Achilles heel, that fabled weak point to which virtually anybody can seize control of our will and our actions if they understand how to invoke the right magical incantations. Countless religions, cults and other "organizations" have existed since our very origins as a socialized species whose sole claim to control is the possession of this answer. How many of our billions are under some spell or another?

It is funny, because it always seems like the little kid in the car screaming "are we there yet?" every five minutes. I mean, do we really need to know why? We've kinda guessed at the fact that we are just one step on a long journey. Hubris wants us to believe that we are near the end, the final product, but really if you think back to people 10,000 years ago they probably figured -- while sitting around their bonfires, outsides of their caves, surround by protective dogs -- that they had reached the height of their existence. 3000 years ago some of the Asian cultures were phenomenally sophisticated, and much of our current philosophy was set and written down 2000 years ago. They do probably thought they were close to reaching the end. It has been a long journey to get here, but its also been incredibly short by universal standards; an instance in time, really.

Time moves on, and many more billions and probably trillions will follow in our footsteps. We can only image how crude those that live 10,000 years from now will think we were when they looked back at us.

Barely out of our caves, we've only just started playing with technology. We're still stupid enough that we keep creating nifty gadgets like atomic bombs that are incredibly unhealthy for all of us. We figured out how to build skyscrapers and bridges, but we have no clue how to maintain them. We are drowning in our own rules, with no idea how to even measure if our society is better off today, than yesterday. Our newspaper chronicle that our perpetually repeating nature. We often know what is wrong, but we cannot fix it.

A fine example of a civilized society -- by our own understanding -- we are not. We often can't even live up to our simplest of ideas, let alone the really lofty ones. Crude and contradictory.

Ironically, that answer: the one that allows people to so easily lead us around on a leash? It is simple. We are, just a step on a great path that the trillions of us will take over the many millennia as we evolve from a crude uncivilized representation into -- hopefully, if we actually make it -- something truly shaped by our intellectual ideas.

In this day and age, sometimes there is no justice. Sometimes the bad people win. Sometime you do get away with being horribly selfish, mean and cruel. That it happens, is the defining characteristic of the proof that we are not even nearly there yet. Our journey ends, at least when we are so much closer to our ideas then we are today. If you really see how many bad people currently win, you know that we still have a long long road to travel. It is early days yet. All our our idealistic qualities, fairness, justices, equality, democracy: these things can only really exist whence we have evolved enough to allow them to exist. We can dream of them now, but we cannot find a way to make them in our current world. That is the road on which we are traveling. That is were we have yet to go in the future. And of course, that is the answer to that annoying question.

If you need to personalize it: we get there, when all of us no longer act or are tempted to act in an uncivilized manner. Conceptually, that's a mouthful because I can't even imagine living in a city were everybody strictly follows the proper rules of driving, for example. And they do so because they want to, not because there is any pressure. A super-uber polite place, with no crime and everybody is happy or friendly. Contrasting that to where I live today, makes me think that we haven't even begun the journey yet. We're still trying to find a way just to keep the lights on without destroying the planet. Still, you have to start somewhere.

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